Know before you go
Parking informationThere is a small car park for about five cars in front of the barn at the reserve entrance (grid ref ST 410 911/ST 41067 99157).
A permissive path takes you on a circular walk of the reserve, through pasture fields, hay meadows and the ancient woodland.
Please keep to the paths and dogs under close control and on a lead in fields where livestock may be present. Parts of the reserve are located across steep terrain. Some of the lower slopes and woodland paths can be muddy, steep and slippery. There are steps in places.
When to visit
Opening timesOpen at all times
Best time to visitAll year
About the reserve
Nestled in the heart of Gwent, this spectacular reserve and working farm has a variety of habitats and wildlife to enjoy, along with breathtaking views of the Usk Valley.
Spring is the season for breeding birds and wildflower walks. Birds like willow warblers and chiffchaffs sing among the trees and bluebells and ramsons carpet the woodland floor. In summer, the meadows burst into a kaleidoscope of colours as wildflowers, like common spotted-orchids and common knapweed, bloom. On bright sunny days, you may spot the attractive blue flowers of blue-eyed grass, an incredibly rare plant on mainland Britain. The abundance and variety of wildflowers create a paradise for butterflies and bees. In autumn, fungi replace the wildflowers in the meadows and woodland, and the trees display their autumnal colours.
What we do here
Springdale Farm is the first working farm owned by the Trust and our tenant farmers use traditional, wildlife-friendly farming practices, including cutting the hay meadows late in the summer and using a herd of British White cattle for low-intensity grazing.
We coppice and thin the woodland to maintain its diverse structure and the many species of plants and wildlife that thrive there and we have restored ‘Miskey’s Meadow’ by removing its thick cover of bracken to create a mosaic of grassland and scrub to benefit wildflowers and the scarce Adder’s-tongue fern. We have also planted a small orchard with traditional plum and apple varieties.
From the A472, turn into the square in Usk town centre. Leave the square on Priory Street, signposted ‘Llantrisant’, following the road round to the right by the church and then round to the left onto Maryport Street. Continue heading south for approximately 3km until the road passes under the A449 dual carriageway. Immediately after the bridge, take the sharp left turning on to Llanllowell Lane and continue for 2km up the hill until you reach the almshouses on the right. The reserve entrance is on the left opposite. Pass through the field gate towards the barn and you’ll see the kissing gate that leads into the reserve on your left.
Near the reserve
The Trust’s Priory Wood and Kitty’s Orchard reserves lie to the west and north of Usk.
The historic small country town of Usk has good pubs and restaurants. Other attractions include a ruined castle dating back to the Norman times, and the Usk Rural Life Museum. There are good walks along the River Usk, a special place recognised for its ecological importance.